While this is the first time I’ve made any attempt at foodblogging, I’ve somehow managed to store up a few photos here and there of various encounters with food…mostly chocolate really.

In a trip to Singapore at the beginning of the year, we really could not resist walking by Haagen-Daz’s fondue set and made a valiant attempt at demolishing it. 3 different types of chocolate icecream, banana…

…pineapple, apple, marshmallows, breadsticks, waffles…

…and mint and strawberry infused chocolate.

Very yummy…Well, I guess it turned me off chocolate for a good month, but hey…still loving it!

There are few things in life more comforting to me than the smells of vanilla and chocolate… particularly if combined. To me, it’s the gastronomic equivalent of holding the other half’s hand – of course, it doesn’t hurt that he happens to provide chocolate most of the time! I remember being particularly enamoured with any makeup/beauty product that smelt of vanilla or chocolate though, particularly in lipbalms…mm…

These bite-sized vanilla bean cupcakes with milk chocolate ganache are just the thing for a sweet craving. Aren’t they cute? I love using real vanilla bean in cooking. There’s something so sophisticated about those dark flecks in the batter and in the crumb. 

 
I halved the recipe, but completely forgot how many mini-cupcakes it ended up making. I also substituted caster sugar for the vanilla sugar, and used a teaspoon or so of vanilla bean paste instead of the 1/2 vanilla bean. Adjust cooking time and keep an eye on them if you’re making mini ones.

Recipes:

Vanilla Cupcakes
from Chockylit, over at Cupcake Bakeshop

Makes 20 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven [176 degrees Celcius]

3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature [170g]
1-2/3 cups vanilla sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2-2/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

I typically use Lindt Excellence, mostly because a) it was on sale and so I have a lot around here, b) it’s really good chocolate. I used about a 1:1 weight ratio of chocolate and heavy cream. Heat the cream up on the stove, until bubbles start to appear at the edge. Pour over the chopped up pieces of chocolate – if using dark chocolate, you need to break it up into smaller pieces than if you are for milk or white chocolate – about 10c coin-sized pieces for dark. Stir until all melted and glossy.

You can pour the ganache over the cupcakes while it’s still liquid, or you can let it cool to a firmer consistency and spread it, depending on the effect you want.

Other random photos

L’s Birthday

Cupcake Bouquet. I need to learn how to pipe properly! Vanilla cupcakes, with a simple buttercream frosting.

Mousse…or is it mice? Sadly, I don’t have a close up on Tim’s brilliant idea here, but they’re cute! Dark and white chocolate mousse…I’ll save the recipes for another time when I have better photos.

Bee Cupcakes

Tim’s niece’s birthday cake.

Triple layered mousse ‘cake’, with white chocolate rose on top. We need to work out how to serve it so that it can be cut properly though…maybe freezing it or something?

General at home cooking:

Dark and milk chocolate mousse, with whipped cream.

Lots of sushi. The shell shaped ones have a thin egg wrapper, and are filled with a mixture of rice, smoked salmon and shallots. There are also tamagoyaki on top of rice and random balls of leftover salmon/rice mixture.

From the top left going clockwise, storebought seaweed salad, homemade pickled ginger and sukju namul (the korean seasoned bean sprouts).

Salmon nigiri, salmon/avocado and/or cucumber rolls.

The final spread for dinner.

Whew. That was long. Until next time!

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